The A-Z Guide to Joey Jordison

Former Slipknot Joey Jordison in 2008
Joey Jordison in 2008 (Image credit: Steve Brown\/Photoshot\/Getty)

Drummer and Slipknot founder Joey Jordison passed away on July 26, 2021 at the age of 46. From Slipknot to Murderdolls to his many cameos, he was a legendary figure in the heavy music scene: here is our alphabetical guide to the late great Joey Jordison. 

Metal Hammer line break

A is for… Anal Blast

What a splendid way to kick things off, eh? A death/grindcore band featuring three future members of the Slipknot: Joey on drums, the late Paul Gray on bass and Donnie Steele on guitar. Joey didn’t hang around long enough to record Puss Blood Pentagram, avoiding his name being associated with songtitles such as Menstrual Pancake and Suck The Blood Of Christ Out Of The Devil’s Dick. Mind you, if you fancy some silly songtitles and a sound not too dissimilar to Suffocation, get some Anal Blast into your ears.

B is for… Battle Scars

In the early days, the nine members of Slipknot racked up a number of cuts and bruises. DJ Sid Wilson set himself on fire and got third-degree burns, while Jordison amassed a fair few injuries himself: a broken ankle, broken knuckles, lacerated shins and a concussion with stitches thanks to a handy lead pipe lobbed by bandmate Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan.

Slipknot in 2009

Slipknot in 2009 (Image credit: Anna Webber/WireImage)

C is for… Calling The Shots

It was Jordison who suggested the band – when they were only the nucleus of what they would become – change their name from The Pale Ones to Slipknot. He also dubbed Slipknot fans as ‘maggots’ and was ridiculously hands-on in the studio, producing bands like 3 Inches Of Blood alongside his own projects.

D is for… Download Festival

A Donington Park veteran, Jordison graced the hallowed festival ground no less than seven times during his career. That’s four times with Slipknot and one time apiece with Korn and Murderdolls, and he was also kind enough to help out a fledgling band called Metallica when their drummer Lars took ill in 2004.

(Image credit: Jo Hale/Getty)

E is for… Extreme Metal

The death metal influence in Jordison’s drumming was undeniable; when he worked at a petrol station, he opted for the night shift so he could just sit and listen to Deicide. And that influence flowed right through his newer band, Sinsaenum – which consisted of Joey on drums, Dragonforce bassist Frederic Leclercq and Stéphane Buriez of Loudblast on guitar, Seth’s Heimoth playing bass with Mayhem’s Attila Csihar and Sean Zatorsky of Dååth singing. Sounds all right, doesn’t it? Joey filled in for Satyricon’s Frost in 2004 and also talked of a black metal supergroup featuring Phil Anselmo with members of Amen, Marduk and Necrophagia, but that never happened. Still… pretty kvlt overall.

F is for… Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13

You’ll probably know it as Murderdolls – so did we – but just about all of the tracks from Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls are rewritten and rerecorded cuts from the Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 catalogue. The lyrics and content were changed (example: Galactic Chicken Shit was renamed Slit My Wrist), the production was beefed up and this essentially became Joey plugging in his guitar and turning one of his favourite punk bands into a snotty, pissed off metal act. Vocalist Wednesday 13 is nowadays regarded as a hero of horror rock – if not for Jordison’s ridiculous profile and involvement with this project, Wednesday’s career could well have died alongside the legacy of the Frankenstein Drag Queens.

G is for… Guitar

Aside from wielding that bloody BC Rich Warlock in Murderdolls, Joey was a dab hand at riffs with Slipknot. He was always writing, and even after his departure from the band, he'd still end up playing with that sickening, unmistakably 'Knotian flare in mind. He told Hammer in 2018: “I play guitar all the time and I’m constantly thinking of songs. I wake up and there’s a riff in my head, every step I take there’s a riff, a beat, or something. Every time I pick up a guitar, I come up with different riffs, all different bands I’ve been in, sometimes there is a song or riff that could only belong with Slipknot and I just can’t use it for anything else, regardless of whatever happened. I won’t use them for anyone else besides Slipknot, if that ever happens again.”

H is for… Have Nots, The

The Have Nots are a Des Moines punk band formed by the late Paul Gray and briefly featured Jordison on guitar in 1996. Jordison quit the following year, claiming that his side-project Slipknot was taking up too much of his time. A wise decision.

I is for… Iowa

Named after the ‘Knot’s home state, Iowa was largely conceived by Joey and Paul in a relatively short period of time. The band were at loggerheads throughout the entire creative process but Christ, was it worth it; this was possibly Slipknot’s greatest moment. They received almost unanimous praise across the board and hit #1 in the UK album charts, becoming the first – and probably last – record containing blastbeats to do so. Ushering out the nu metal influences and pouring in more and more of Jordison’s extreme metal knowledge, Iowa had Slipknot ready to drag listeners’ brains straight out of their ears.

J is for… Jazz

Jordison wasn’t always a metal drummer. He would occasionally play in a jazz band led by his stepfather Michael, a clarinet player. Still not quite as cool as being held upside down while you play Surfacing, though.

K is for… Kabuki Mask

The disguise Joey was most famed for – albeit the weathered, All Hope Is Gone version is much gnarlier – is the harsh stone white, petrifying Japanese Kabuki mask from the first three records. The mask was allegedly inspired by his mother, who wore it one Halloween and scared the living piss out of a young, drunken Joey. “It’s open ended and it’s got so many different meanings that you can’t just pin point, stereotype or pigeon hole,” he once explained. “It could be love, beauty, hate, disgust – it’s all that stuff in one!”

L is for… Logo

As well as being an integral part of Slipknot, Joey also created the iconic tribal ‘S’, having scribbled it all over the front of his drum kit. He also devised the ‘sickness’ font used in the band’s logo, the oversized ‘K’ and ‘T’ serving as an homage to Korn. That logo is recognisable anywhere.

M is for… Ministry

“Simply put, Ministry are one of the greatest rock bands ever,” once remarked Jordison, who went on to drum for the industrial giants on their MasterBaTour. He also appeared in their Lieslieslies video, but never actually recorded any material with the band. This wasn’t the intention, though. Ministry mainman Al Jourgensen programmed the drums for Rio Grande Blood with Jordison in mind, but a Slipknot tour stopped the drummer reaching the studio; Joey was slated to hit the kit on 2007’s The Last Sucker too, but the collaboration never came to fruition. Although Jourgensen softened towards Jordison, and even asked him to prepare an acceptance speech on Ministry’s behalf for the 2006 Grammys. Slipknot won... bit awkward. The initial Ministry days were a slog as Jordison was basically bullied, creatively hazed with insults such as “prima donna little midget” and “Mr. High Fallutin’ million-seller guy”. Within four hours of his first practice, he was in tears.

N is for… Natural Talent

You know those people who are just annoyingly brilliant at everything they try their hand at? Well Joey was one of them, and he was at it since he was a kid. Playing guitar with his sisters at his grandfather’s house, he “never took any lessons, [he] was just a riff player, copying Stones licks”. Fretwork turned to sessions on the stool in fourth grade, from which Joey recalled: “When it came time to play a drum kit, I never had to learn. I literally sat down and just played.”

O is for… Ozzy Osbourne

In 1982, Joey saw a news report about Ozzy’s infamous bat incident. Not long after, he bought Ozzy’s solo debut, Blizzard Of Ozz and began a lifelong allegiance to metal.

P is for… Prolific

Joey played with every band on the planet, it seems. He pulled double duty for nearly a month on the Hallowe’en Hootenanny tour, playing guitar with Murderdolls, having a quick break to watch Alice Cooper then banging the drums for Rob Zombie. Even in September 2013, when the effects of transverse myelitis were, in theory, taking their toll, he showed no signs of slowing down. “I got Scar The Martyr going on now and I’m making sure it’s gonna get the attention it deserves,” he told this writer. “But at the same time, I’m always ready for Slipknot too. I’ve got so much Slipknot material, I started writing this a long time ago.” That’s true – he’d been hyping up new ‘Knot material as early as June 2012 in Terrorizer magazine.

Q is for… Quitting, Never

On December 12, 2013, Slipknot announced that the band had parted company with Jordison for “personal reasons”. Jordison released a counter statement, which said: “I did not quit Slipknot. This band has been my life for the last 18 years, and I would never abandon it, or my fans.” Later, when the drummer revealed he was suffering from transverse myelitis, a form of multiple sclerosis, he also revealed that he was sacked by the band via email.

R is for… Roadrunner United

As one of the four ‘team captains’ for this titanic task, Joey wrote and produced five tracks for this all-star, ludicrously expansive album for Roadrunner Records’ 25th birthday, entitled The All-Star Sessions. The fact that he relished the chance to do Annihilation By The Hands Of God with Deicide’s Glen Benton, Enemy Of The State with the late Pete Steele and No Way Out with Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo just showed the breadth of Joey’s love and knowledge of heavy music. The sessions spawned a live gig as well, in which Jordison sat behind the kit for the majority of the tracks.

S is for… Solo!

Jordison once described himself as “a smaller version of a Tommy Lee, I guess”, but his drum solos left Motley Crue’s tub thumper in the dust. Joey played that shit on his hydraulic drum riser upside down, then facing the ceiling, in costume, a million times faster than anyone and everyone

T is for… Through The Floor

A song culled from Modifidious’ 1993 demo, Submitting To Detriment. A thrash band featuring Joey on drums with future Slipknot members (Craig Jones on guitar and Josh Brainard on guitar and vocals), Modifidious gave Joey the chance to explore his artistic side. It’s rumoured that Through The Floor is the first song Joey ever wrote.

U is for… Unfinished Business

Joey was a certified workaholic, but there was a point around the millenium, where he was signing up for everything, and loads of this stuff never saw the light of day. A project with System Of A Down’s Daron Malakian and Mudvayne’s Ryan Martinie was supposed to be “a little bit of pop, with pure grind and ambient tones”; work with Stormtroopers Of Death bassist Dan Lilker was promised to lead to bouts of “full-on, straight-ahead grindcore. Nothing too thought-out or special, just fuckin’ complete mayhem”; oh, he wrote a few songs with Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth, which have yet to crawl from the crypt.

V is for… Vimic

Renaming Scar The Martyr, Joey wanted to “wipe the slate clean” and start afresh with one of his two newer bands, Vimic. The line-up was completed by vocalist Kalen Chase, bassist Kyle Konkiel, keyboardist Matt Tarach, along with guitarists Jed Simon and Steve Marshall.



W is for… Wolverhampton

Slipknot’s sold-out show at the Wolves Civic Hall back in 2000 created a bit of a kerfuffle. Prior to the gig, Wolverhampton councillor Joan Stevenson said the band were “not welcome at all” and called them “ridiculous, juvenile and stupid.” Joey responded in the press: “I’m going to shit in a box and send it to Wolverhampton council! We’ll see how acceptable they find that!” The gig went ahead, and Sid jumped from a 20ft balcony and injured a fan.

X is for… X

Forgetting Yesterday & Beating You With Kindness was the title of The Have Nots’ demo released in May, 1996. Jordison can be heard playing drums at the end of the demo, on a cover of Johnny Hit & Run Pauline by LA punk band X.

Y is for… You, Pieces Of

Harvested from Women And Children Last, Murderdolls’ second full-length, Pieces Of You offers an insight into both Wednesday and Joey’s minds at the time. The initial fire Murderdolls had set was somewhat extinguished, the days of co-headlining Brixton Academy with Stone Sour long gone. But no matter. The ‘Dolls were back, exuding a heavier, darker sound more akin to Dope doing drag in a cemetery. This was much more metal yet, even with lyrics like “she cries and she begs for her life, it’s sad but it’s true, all that’s left are pieces of you”, Jordison managed to make the best of a bad amputation. 

Z is for… Zeitgeist

Slipknot captured the zeitgeist of everything that was good about the nu metal era – the rage, the catchiness, the crushing heaviness – and had the attitudes to match. Joey, being one of the band’s key spokesmen, personified both the music and the mood of the movement: when he said Iowa was going to be way heavier than the debut, he fucking meant it. His resilient, no bullshit attitude and intricately brutal drumming style inspired a generation, with everyone from Bring Me The Horizon to Black Sabbath’s session drummer citing #1 as a king of the kit.

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.